Books for the News, Chicago

The ultimate nosh

jacket imageDon’t miss a chance to see some of the greatest minds of the century engage in fierce debate over one of the most enduring questions in human history: latke or hamantash? The 60th annual Latke-Hamantash Debate will be held tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Mandel Hall, 5706 S. University Ave. on the University of Chicago campus. The debate is free and open to the public. Tickets to the reception, where latkes and hamantashen will be served following the event, will be sold at the door for $5 each.
The intellectual and cultural extravaganza that is the Latke-Hamantash debate has been a University of Chicago tradition for over sixty years. What began as an informal gathering is now an institution that has been replicated on campuses nationwide. Highly absurd yet deeply serious, the annual debate is an opportunity for both ethnic celebration and academic farce. Chronicling the delicious, not to mention humorous history of this debate, Ruth Fredman Cernea’s The Great Latke-Hamantash Debate collects the best of these performances, from Martha Nussbaum’s paean to both foods—in the style of Hecuba’s Lament—to Nobel laureate Leon Lederman’s proclamation on the union of the celebrated dyad. Both the latke aficionado and the hamantash devotee will find this humorous collection of essays indispensable.
We also have an online feature for the book that includes Ted Cohen’s metaphysical lecture of 1976, "Consolations of the Latke"—both as text and in an audio file—as well as two great recipes for, you guessed it, latkes and hamantashen.